What are the qualifications and requirements for foster parenting?
What is the goal of the foster and foster to adopt program?
The agency’s goal is to find temporary homes for children who cannot safely remain in their own home and for whom there is no suitable relative. Children who come into the agency’s care need a safe place to live until they can be safely reunified with their own family or a suitable relative. If that is not possible, then the goal is to find a permanent home for the children. Most often, these children are adopted by their foster or foster to adopt family. Foster and foster to adopt families must remember that the agency’s mandate is to work toward reunification of the children with their families and adoption is the last resort. It is also important to understand that the agency’s focus is to find families for children...not ...children for families.
What is the difference between the foster and the foster/adoptive program?
The requirements for both programs are basically the same. Certification for foster care- only is for those caregivers who are not actively seeking to adopt, but want to help a child on a temporary basis until a permanent home can be located or the child returns home. Foster parents who are not approved for adoption may still be permitted to adopt the foster children who are placed in their home if the agency obtains permanent custody and no other relatives are located. Foster/adoptive parents may actively seek to find children who are already in the custody of an agency and waiting for permanent homes. Foster/adoptive parents may also adopt the children who are placed in their homes for foster care if they become available for adoption.
What is the first step to becoming a foster parent or foster/adoptive parent?
The first step to becoming a foster or foster/adoptive parent is to contact the agency. Contact may be made by calling 740-282-0961 and asking to speak with the foster care or adoption worker. You will be provided with a packet of information and you will have the opportunity to ask any questions you may have regarding the foster care program or the foster to adopt program and the homestudy process. You will also receive information regarding the required pre-service training.
What is the training requirement for foster care or adoption?
Currently the state of Ohio requires 36 hours of pre-service training for anyone desiring to become certified for foster care of approved for adoption. Applicants must complete all sessions but may make up any missed sessions in neighboring counties. The series of 36 hours consists of twelve, three hour sessions. Session topics are:
*There is no cost for the training and there is no obligation to continue with the process.
What is involved in the homestudy process?
An applicant must complete and submit an application. The agency will review the application and if the application is accepted, additional documentation will be required. The state requires criminal background checks, medical reports for all family members, copies of drivers’ licenses, vehicle insurance, marriage/divorce records, proof of income, copies of utility bills, reference letters from three unrelated persons, fire inspection, safety audit of the home, vaccination records for dogs, and well-water test (if applicable). The state also requires interviews with all household members except for children under the age of four years. Topics to be discussed are required by the state. Applicants will be provided with a set of homework questions to facilitate the interview process but no one will be denied based on failure to complete the homework questions. The assessor assigned to complete the homestudy will visit in the applicant’s home to complete the safety audit. The fire inspector will also have to visit the home in order to complete the fire inspection. Someone from the Health Department will have to complete the well-water test if the applicant has a well.
How long does the process take?
The homestudy process can take as long as 6 months depending on each individual family’s circumstances. It may take less time or in some circumstances it can take longer.
Is there a fee or cost for the homestudy?
There is no cost for the homestudy. Applicants, however, are required to pay for their own medical examinations, well-water tests, vaccinations for pets, etc. So, there is some initial cost involved in the process. The agency does not complete homestudies for private adoptions…keep in mind that the agency’s goal is to provide homes for children who come into the custody of the agency because they cannot safely live in their own homes.
What happens after the homestudy is approved?
After the homestudy is approved, the foster or foster to adopt family is registered and certified by the state. The family is added to the agency’s list of resource families and is eligible to take a child into placement.
Are there any requirements after the initial homestudy is approved and a family is certified?
Yes. Foster care and foster/adoptive homestudies are required to be updated every two years. The recertification process is similar to the certification process however less intense. During the two year certification period foster parents are required to obtain a total of forty (40) hours of continuing training which is provided by the agency. Foster and foster/adoptive parents are required to be in compliance with all state rules and agency policies.
Can I choose the characteristics of the child to be placed into my home?
Yes. During the homestudy process, a joint decision is made between the agency and the applicant regarding the number of children, age, gender, and characteristics of the children to be placed into the home.
How soon will I receive my first placement?
Children may be placed into the home as soon as the first day of certification, or it may take longer.
How are placement decisions made?
Placement decisions are made based on the needs of the child and the prospective foster family’s ability to meet those needs. Factors considered include the characteristics of the child, bed space in the home, proximity to the child’s family and school, and consideration is given to the parenting style of the foster parents as well as the effect of the placement on other children already residing in the home.
What are the responsibilities of the foster parent?
The foster parent(s) assume full responsibility for the daily care of the child. This means scheduling and attending doctor’s appointments, ensuring that the child attends school, school activities, and transporting the child to family visits, usually held at the agency. Sometimes foster parents find themselves in a mentoring role with the birth family depending on the nature of the relationship that develops between the two families.
What if a foster parent works outside of the home?
Foster parents may work outside of the home but they are responsible for finding alternate care for the child, such as child care providers or daycare centers. Alternate care arrangements must be approved by the agency prior to utilizing an alternate care provider.
Is there any reimbursement for expenses incurred in the daily care of the child? What about medical expenses?
Yes. The agency provides a daily stipend to help foster parents with the cost of caring for a foster child. The reimbursement is provided in the month subsequent to the month the child was placed into the home. Medical coverage is usually provided through the Medicaid program unless the foster child is covered by private insurance. Foster parents are not responsible for the medical expenses of the foster child.